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5 Video Games That Refuse To Hold Your Hand



“Sorry, what was that? You wanted a tutorial? Well, you've come to the wrong place, traveller. We don't do that around here. In fact, we're known to hurl you into the deep end with nothing but the clothes on your back around these parts. Who are we? Why, we're video games that refuse to hold your hand, of course.”

The point I'm trying to make is this. We, as gamers, have become so accustomed to the idea of having a tour guide whenever enrolling on a new journey. Even when we know all the button layouts, the general mechanics and the genre like the back of our hand, we still come to expect a warming embrace before being scooted on our way. But these five games, on the other hand, opt for a route less travelled. Say goodbye to conraradery. Say hello to being kicked in the face and volleyed down the road. Here are five games that straight up refuse to hold your hand.


5. Souls

We'll start off with one of the most obvious ones: Souls. Take any single Dark Souls game you like, it doesn't really matter, as they all follow a strict formula that rarely ever deviate from the award-winning recipe. What's the recipe made up of besides blood and death, you ask? Well, besides that inescapable feeling of being isolated, helpless and fueled by self-doubt, Souls does of course render you worthless from the moment you hit start.

It's a known fact that Dark Souls is a pretty tough spool of games. It gives you the very basics in order to survive the first four minutes, and then hands over the reins and asks you to conquer a mountain after stepping over a molehill. Without a single piece of advice or arrow to point you in the right direction, it gives you full control of your own journey. Does it work? Well, looking at the thread of games to leave FromSoftware's doors, I'm going to go ahead and say yes, yes it does.


4. Myst

Like you, I play puzzle games for the enormous sense of accomplishment that comes after unlocking certain secrets and plodding from one marker to the next. Myst, of course, is no different. It provides enough challenges to keep you second-guessing and maneuvering from one location to the next. But finding that first checkpoint, however, isn't the easiest task to scout out.

Like most puzzle games, once you get the feel for the world and assemble an arsenal with all the right tools, you find yourself connecting the dots without so much as a second thought. But when you first boot up Myst, you're given hardly a shred of assistance to help nudge you in the right direction. You're just, in many ways, abandoned and left to figure everything out for yourself. Perfect.


3. Outer Wilds

There's a reason why people love Outer Wilds, and also why the game went on to garner a boatload of awards after its release. Thanks to its non-linear gameplay and exceptional storytelling abilities, it went on to win over the hearts of millions of adventure-loving players. And the fact it doesn't hold your hand, in all fairness, is partly the reason for its widespread popularity.

The structure for Outer Wilds is simple: relive the same 22-minute time loop before the sun goes supernova. During those minutes, you're expected to uncover the reasons for the giant star bursting into flames. How you figure it out, however, is entirely up to you, meaning you'll have to venture down the same roads ten times over before finally stumbling upon the dots to paint the whole picture.


2. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

If you're after a story-driven experience, then The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a game you should definitely check out. Just don't expect for it to give you any tips before enrolling you on its puzzle-heavy adventure beforehand. In fact, the game even goes as far as telling you just that before booting it up. So you know the devs mean business.

After discovering the remains of a body, you're given the task of reconstructing the events leading up to their death. By using a special set of paranormal skills, you can slowly connect the dots and complete the timeline. However, being dumped in an open world with no obvious paths to guide you, getting lost almost comes expected. It's half the fun, sure, but you'll need a whole lot of patience if you're going to turn over every stone on the map for clues.


1. Conan Exiles

The first time I played Conan Exiles, I ended up spending a good two hours trudging through a cluster of canyons, only to end up building a weak hut without so much as a door to keep out the cold. A little further on, and I was anhialated by a curious creature and thrown back to square one to start all over again. And it was fun. For the most part, anyway.

Of course, it would have been a lot more enjoyable if I had known what on earth I was doing. But that's not the case with Conan Exiles. You're expected to learn how to counter your mistakes with the knowledge you've accumulated over your multiple sessions. Play long enough, and you'll eventually begin to enjoy your new life in exile. Getting to that comfortable level, however, does require a whole lot of trial and error. The question is: do you have the patience to learn?


So, what's your take? Which games have refused to hold your hand? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.


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Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.